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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 15 - 21  > Diet deliberations on ACSA approval to activate use of war laws begin
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2017 March 15 - 21 [POLITICS]

Diet deliberations on ACSA approval to activate use of war laws begin

March 15, 2017
Akahata editorial

The House of Representatives on March 14 began discussing whether to grant approval to the Japan-U.S. Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA). If approved, the ACSA will make it possible for the government to order the Self-Defense Forces to provide additional military support to the U.S. forces on a global scale based on the national security legislation, the so-called war laws. Diet debate on the approval of the same agreement separately with Australia and Britain also began on the same day.

The Japan-U.S. ACSA will work out details such as payment procedures in order to facilitate, what Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio calls, the “smooth and quick” provision of goods and services between the SDF and the USF.

Initially, when both the Japanese and U.S. governments concluded their first ACSA in 1996, they limited its application to Japan-U.S. joint training exercises and UN PKOs. The two countries revised the pact twice since then and signed the new ACSA in September last year in order to have the agreement applicable to all occasions from peacetime to emergencies, including when the need to resort to the right of collective self-defense arises. The ACSA Japan respectively sealed with Australia and Britain in January this year stipulates provisions similar to the Japan-U.S. ACSA.

In the U.S. retaliatory war against Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq, the government of Japan at that time dispatched the SDF to provide support to the US troops and other foreign militaries, but limited SDF operations to “non-combat areas”. The SDF should avoid being regarded “as integrated with the use of force by foreign forces”, the government explained at the time as the government was fully aware that that would be in violation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

However, with the enactment of the war laws, Japanese forces are allowed to take on logistics operations even in “combat zones”. Under this legislation, the SDF provides rear-area support such as arms supply and transport which were previously prohibited to the USF and other allied military forces. The legislation also opens the door for Japan’s involvement in refueling and maintenance activities for foreign aircraft involved in various combat operations including bombing campaigns. Obviously, the SDF abroad will be regarded by everyone “as integrated with the use of force by foreign military forces”.

This legislation is reflected in the three ACSA pacts. Japanese Communist Party Motomura Nobuko at the Lower House plenary session on March 14 criticized the approval of the ACSAs for enabling support by allies for unlawful acts of U.S. aggression.

Motomura said, “Japan should return to its postwar starting point when it declared its renunciation of war to the international community. The path Japan should pursue is to make diplomatic efforts to create a peaceful environment in East Asia.”

Past related articles:
> US military in Japan intends to mobilize civilian transport companies for munitions deliveries [March 1, 2017]
> Japan and US sign revised agreement to step up logistic cooperation [September 27, 2016]
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